My /etc/hosts file looks like this:

# Your system has configured 'manage_etc_hosts' as True.
# As a result, if you wish for changes to this file to persist
# then you will need to either
# a.) make changes to the master file in /etc/cloud/templates/hosts.tmpl
# b.) change or remove the value of 'manage_etc_hosts' in
#     /etc/cloud/cloud.cfg or cloud-config from user-data ansible-server ansible-server localhost

# The following lines are desirable for IPv6 capable hosts
::1 ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
fe00::0 ip6-localnet
ff00::0 ip6-mcastprefix
ff02::1 ip6-allnodes
ff02::2 ip6-allrouters
ff02::3 ip6-allhosts


I have added the node1 and node2 and naturally the IP is replaced by the IP of the node.

I would assume this works perfectly fine, however it doesn't. I thought SSH simply ignores the hosts file:

root@ansible-server:~# ssh root@node1
ssh: Could not resolve hostname node1: Name or service not known
root@ansible-server:~# ssh root@node2
ssh: Could not resolve hostname node2: Name or service not known

However, I can't ping these servers by their name either:

root@ansible-server:~# ping node1
ping: unknown host node1
root@ansible-server:~# ping node2
ping: unknown host node2

It is pretty clear I'm doing something really stupid here... but what?

Additional information: this server runs Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS and is hosted on DigitalOcean. The server this is occurring on an Ansible server.

  • 11
    Put the address FIRST and the name (or optionally multiple names) SECOND. – dave_thompson_085 Aug 6 '15 at 8:35
  • 2
    @dave_thompson_085: IMCO you should convert that comment to an answer... (look how many upvotes you're loosing to a comment) – Fabby Aug 6 '15 at 8:38
  • @Fabby Please do because I did what you said and I quickly realised how stupid I was. – William Edwards Aug 6 '15 at 8:39
  • 1
    @dave_thompson_085 8 upvoted wasted >:=D (and counting) – Rinzwind Aug 6 '15 at 8:44
  • @Archemar nslookup and dig (and host) only talk to the DNS server(s), they never use the hosts file even when normal name resolution does. serverfault.com/questions/303716/… – dave_thompson_085 Aug 6 '15 at 8:53

Since @William still got it wrong (!) here we go:

The format of lines in /etc/hosts is address first and name(s) second node1 node2 myroutermaybe googledns # in case DNS doesn't work for DNS??? localhost 

or where several names map to the same address node1 node2 node3 stitch626 

ADDED, thanks to reminder by fpmurphy1:

The first name (if more than one) is used as the canonical or "official" name for gethostbyaddr etc, so if you have a domain name assigned to this machine/address it is usually clearest and most useful to put the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) as the first name.

  • Actually the order is ip address followed by canonical (FQDN) name followed by zero or more aliases – fpmurphy Feb 5 '16 at 4:56
  • @fpmurphy1 not always FQDN, but you're right it's worth noting; edited – dave_thompson_085 Feb 7 '16 at 21:55

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